Winter is here, which means so is heavy snowfall in many parts of North America and with that snow comes the terrible task of clearing it away. For those with large paths and driveways, it can mean the backbreaking task of digging your car out of a snow pileup as well. A heated driveway is one way this task can be eliminated from your life for good. Let’s look at how they operate, and whether it’s worth the investment.
How Do Electric Heated Driveways Work?
An electric heated driveway is made up of a few components:
- Heating cables and mats: cables made to resist damage and corrosion that are installed underneath the driveway or pavement. These cables self-regulate, reacting to ambient temperature and heating up in colder temperatures to melt snow and ice.
- Control units and sensors: switch the system on when ground temperature drops below the set point and moisture is detected.
These systems are specifically designed for direct burial in concrete and often protected by a tinned-copper braid encased in a polyolefin outer jacket. With no exposed metal parts to corrode, no cold leads to fail and no burnout due to overlaps or hot spots, electric heated driveway systems are often a relatively maintenance-free solution for home or building owners.
What are the Benefits of a Heated Driveway?
No one likes to shovel or plow snow, so the immediate benefit is that you can remove those activities from your winter duties. There are plenty of additional benefits:
- Energy-efficiency: While there are hydronic options for driveway snow melting, an electric system will always be more energy efficient. The self-regulating technology ensures the system will only work when cold air and moisture is detected on the driveway. Instead of a system constantly running during cold weather, the system works by only turning on when needed.
- Environmentally friendly: Electric snow melting systems are more environmentally friendly than the continuous use of rock salt or chemical deicers.
- Easy maintenance: Once an electric system is installed at your property, it’s unlikely that you will ever have to perform maintenance. You can treat your driveway like you did before the system was installed with peace of mind that the durable cables will withstand it all.
- Safety: Ensuring the walkways around your home or business are free of ice and snow reduces the probability of anyone suffering slips, trips and falls during icy months.
- Longevity: Continued water and ice buildup on a driveway can lead to micro cracks over time and long-term damage to concrete. An electric system can protect the integrity of a driveway by keeping the temperature from dipping below freezing.
A heated driveway can be a sizeable investment, but one that will pay off for years to come. If you are ready to put down the snow shovel and start enjoying a cozier winter, then reach out to an nVent RAYCHEM Winter Expert today.